Monday, May 29, 2017

Asian Soup in 10 Minutes

Do you like recipes that are healthy, yet fast and easy to make? This Asian soup is one of my favorites. It takes just 10 minutes to cook and you can serve your family a hot nourishing bowl of vegetable soup that is flavorful and appealing. 

Low in calories and carbs, Asian soups are brothy and cook up very quickly making this a perfect soup when you are in a hurry. And since it's light, it pairs well with almost any entree,.

I always keep a list of healthy recipes that can be made in under a half hour. This is one of them. There are so many times that I need to whip something together quickly like my Leeks and brussels sprout soup or quick carrot ginger soup or my creamy zucchini  soup.

 I used fresh Shitake mushrooms ( from our local farmer's market), bok choy, green onions, sprouts, carrots, fresh organic ginger, and fresh organic garlic for this soup. 

Discard the stems
 When using shitake mushrooms, the stems can be very tough and chewy.I separate the stems from the mushroom and use the stems to add to broth and then discard them.

Even though this is a quick soup and can certainly be eaten immediately after cooking, I think it tastes even better if you eat it the next day. Many soups taste richer the next day after the flavors have mingled. 

Add some lemon juice or toasted sesame oil
You can add a few drops of sesame oil to your bowl for an even richer flavor. My husband  likes to add lemon juice and toasted sesame oil to all of his soups!!

Asian Soup in 10 Minutes

Author: Judee Algazi @gluten Free A-Z Blog
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Serves: 4


1 small bok choy, washed and sliced into bite size pieces 
5 large fresh shitake mushrooms, wiped clean with a paper towel or hand towel, rinsed very quickly, and sliced 
1 medium carrot, sliced 
1 knob of fresh ginger, sliced ( see how to remove skin easily) 
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 cups of water + 4 cups of flavorful vegetable broth brought to a boil 
Olive oil spray
Optional: Sprouts
Optional: serve with cooked rice noodles or cooked rice in each bowl. 

In a deep skillet, sautee the mushrooms, garlic, ginger carrots, and bok choy. for about 5- 7 minutes stirring frequently. Pour the boiled broth and water mixture over the vegetables and cook for an additional 3- 5 minutes. Serve immediately, add cooked rice noodles or cooked rice to each bowl or store the cooked soup for later. 

peel was left on these slices-  your choice 

How to Peel Fresh Ginger Easily and Quickly

Use the back of a spoon ( not a knife, not a fork)  and lightly scrape the ginger. The skin will come off easily and the ginger will ready to use. Once peeled , it grates easily for any recipe.
**If you have ginger left over, freeze it ( with the skin on) and take it out as needed. 

Blog Party Links: Sharing on Hearth and Soul  and Souper Sunday  and Inspire Me Tuesday  and/Happy Healthy Green  Mz. Helen's full plate thursday

Sunday, May 28, 2017

CSA Recipe Week 1

If you belong to a CSA, you must be as excited as I am to receive Week 1's  bounty of organic fresh local vegetables!

Since there are just two of us, I take a half share which means I pick up every other week. That's all I can handle because once I get all that beautiful produce home, I need to prep it quickly or risk it going bad.

If you don't know what a CSA is you can read about it on this previous CSA post that explains what it is and why I join

You never really know until pick up day exactly what you are getting.

This week I received lots of different kinds of greens including spinach, chard, broccoli raab,  and lettuce, a large bunch of big plump red radishes, bok choy, oregano, mint, green garlic, and 2 containers of sweet juicy strawberries.

How I prepped: 

1. Strawberries- After eating a few, I washed, took off the greens, and dried all the strawberries. Drying is a step that I sometimes like to skip- (but as my good friend Laura reminds me- the produce won't last as long without drying, so don't skip that step )- 
I then filled a large mason jar with the whole berries, closed the jar, and placed in the refrigerator. 
The berries should be good for a minimum of 5 days.

2. Lettuce- The lettuce heads were small , so I washed them, dried them, tore them into bite size pieces and set them aside to make My Make Ahead Mason Jar salads or  Lunch in a Jar.

3. Broccoli Raab- I washed, dried, and placed in a bag to make that night with dinner to make a broccoli raab sautee with olive oil and garlic

4. Radishes- Radishes grow attached to greens. So ,first I cut off the greens and saved them because they are edible and delicious. No need to discard radish or beet greens. 
Next, I divided these up the 12 radishes. I used 4 for the make ahead salad above and the rest I put in a baggie and saved for another day. 

I entertained the idea of sauteed radishes which are delicious, but I couldn't bear to not eat them raw to get all the enzymes. So, we will snack on them and add them to salads. 

5. Bok Choy- I went to a local farmer's market and picked up some fresh local shitake mushrooms. The mushrooms and the bok choy were targeted for soup.
Recipe for the soup

Asian Soup in 10 minutes
shared on Inspire Me Tuesday and Hearth and Soul Hop and Happy Healthy Green and Full Plate Thursday

Friday, May 26, 2017

My 7 Best Memorial Day Salads for BBQ's

What a beautiful presentation for a party. Love this salad!

Memorial Day and BBQ's seem to go hand in hand.

I've rounded up eight of my best salad suggestions for the occasion that will work for your vegetarian, vegan , and gluten free friends!

Whether you are the host or the guest, you may be making a salad to serve or to bring.

I love all of these whole food salads. They are easy to make, beautiful to serve, tasty and nutritious. 

Have a wonderful holiday weekend!

Asian coleslaw

Asian Slaw Salad- This is one of our favorites, and it is perfect for a crowd.
Easy to make and very tasty, everyone will love this holiday slaw classic. ( vegan 

Kale and Blueberry Salad- Kale is all the rage and it should be. After all, it's highly nutritious, hardy, looks appealing and holds up well in salads. I love it combined with sweet blueberries and this creamy orange dressing ( vegan) . 

Quinoa Lovers Salad- If you are looking for a salad to provide a little protein, then quinoa has you covered. This delightful salad is tossed with fresh spinach, oranges and roasted beets. - delish and Vegan

Skinny Potato Salad ( made with Cauliflower)- Everyone loves potato salad, but not the carbs! This tasty look alike can fool even the most discerning. Substitutes cooked cauliflower for potatoes

Waldorf Broccoli Slaw- Easy and delicious. Open a bag of broccoli slaw and mix with fresh apple chunks, cashews, and a few other ingredients for a lovely low calorie side. ( vegan) 

Green Bean with Balsamic Reduction- Balsamic reduction is easy to make and provides a thicker sweeter balsamic sauce for your green beans. Top with feta if you like. Vegan

Avocado Caprese Salad ( vegan)- This is the vegan version of Caprese Salad made by substituting avocado for mozzarella. Makes a beautiful presentation and there will not be a morsel left over.

Need a vegetarian burger? 
 Quinoa Patties ( vegetarian) 

Shared on Souper Sundays

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Beets are Easy To Make With This Method

When was the last time you made fresh red beets?

They are really easy to make and there is no need to struggle with peeling them.

I simply wash and steam with the skin on. After the beets are steamed, the skin easily rubs right off.

Once they are cooked, you can cut them up and eat them plain, you can add celery, and spices, or garlic and lemon juice. 

Sometimes I make the golden yellow beets into a beet and apple salad or a red beet and orange salad

They are worth making because they are rich in nutrients and very cleansing. 
my mother in law, me, and my sister in law

I invited my mother in law for dinner. She loves fresh home cooked beets, but doesn't take the time to make them for one person anymore- herself. So, I decided to make them as a side with our dinner. 

Fresh Beets before Cooking 

I bought a bunch of 4 large organic red beets with their greens at our local supermarket. 
I separated the beets from the greens, washed them well, and without peeling them I steamed them using my little steamer basket.

I forgot to take a photo of the beets in the steamer basket, but here is a photo of some artichokes I steamed.

When they were done steaming, I simply rinsed them under cold water, and rubbed off the peel in seconds. I then cut the beets into chunks and served.

 They were sweet, tender, and absolutely delicious. It was very easy- but wear gloves or your fingers and hands will be totally red!!

Cook the beet greens too- healthy & delicious

Don't discard the beet greens,. I also cooked the beet greens that I cut off the bunch of beets.
The greens are tender and delicious.

Made from 6 beets: toss the beet greens in garlic, fresh juice from a lime

Made from 3 beets: Or just toss in some lemon juice

How to cook the beet greens: 

Simply wash them, trim the end of the stems a little if they are very tough, and slice the greens and stems. Then heat  a large skillet that is sprayed with olive oil, toss the beets into the hot pan and stir consistently until well wilted and the stems are a little soft. It should just take minutes!
Just before removing from the skillet, squeeze fresh lemon juice on top and give a final stir. 
It is so delicious, you will wish you had more.

Of course that is the problem. The beet greens will cook down and there will only be one serving. 


Beets are healthy full of fiber, iron content, antioxidants, etc. 

So, when you are looking for a vegetable to make for dinner- don't forget about beets!!

Simple Steamed Beets
3 large organic red beets, washed but not peeled
Boiling water 

Place a small steamer basket in a large pot. Place beets in the basket. Add boiling water to meet the steamer basket and steam covered until the beets are tender and you under you can stick a knife through the beets with no resistance. ( Be careful that the water doesn't evaporate and then your beets will burn. Check frequently as you may need to replace the boiling water at least once) 
Using a large spoon , remove beets , put under cold water so you can handle them, gently rub off the skin ( it will come right off) and cut into chunks. 

Simple Sauteed Beet Greens

Beet greens
3 cloves garlic, chopped or pressed 
1 Tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
Himalayan salt to taste

Spray a large skillet with olive oil spray. Use a high heat. Add garlic stir a little and then add your greens and salt. Stir around untils greens and stems are soft. Squeeze a little lemon juice on top of the greens and cook for 20 seconds more. Remove and serve.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Eggplant with Mushrooms, Peppers, and Tomatoes

Looking for an healthy low calorie and low carb vegetable side dish?
Everyone really enjoyed this simple eggplant medley at a family dinner the other night. 

We eat a cooked vegetable every night with dinner, but I usually make an individual vegetable such as string beans, beets, or zucchini. Tonight, I decided to make a quick and easy vegetable stew using eggplant, mushrooms, red peppers and cherry tomatoes.

It took only about 20 minutes to cook,  but it tasted really special. 

I've been on an eggplant kick lately. Last week I made my chunky eggplant sauce for zucchini pasta. This week I felt like having eggplant, but I did not want it to be a strong tomato base.  So, I just cooked up the four vegetables in a saucepan until the eggplant was tender. The mushrooms gave off just enough liquid to make it a little bit saucy like what I'm calling a stew.

We ate this as a side dish; If you add cooked chickpeas to it, it could be a vegan entree. Regardless, of course "my stew" meets gluten free, vegan, and Paleo standards.

I only used one of the eggplants for this recipe

There is not much to say except that this overly simple recipe was tasty, nutritious, and easy! 
End of story.

This recipe serves four as a side.

Author: Judee Algazi from Gluten Free A-Z Blog
Prep: 10-15 minutes ( depends how fast you peel and cut) 
Cook Time: 20 minutes

1 large eggplant, peeled and chopped into chunks
6 mini red or yellow peppers ( or 1 regular red or yellow pepper) , chopped or sliced 
4 cloves garlic , pressed or chopped 
15 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
8 whole white mushrooms, sliced
olive oil spray
optional: add a little kick with some ground red pepper


Spray a 6 quart saucepan with olive oil spray. Add the garlic, chopped peppers, and cherry tomatoes. Sautee for 1 minute and add the chunks of eggplant. Spray the eggplant with olive oil spray and toss with the other vegetables in the pot. Cook covered on low, stirring frequently. After about 10 minutes add the sliced mushrooms and continue to cook and stir until the eggplant is tender. Remove and serve. 

My Notes: 
1. You could eat this over Basmati rice
2. Add cooked chickpeas to make it an entree

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Turkish Red Lentil Soup

gluten free red lentil soup

Red Lentils (available at Trader Joes and most supermarkets) look orange when raw, cook up quickly, and make a delicious soup that is full of flavor.

red lentils

I was first introduced to this unique red lentil many years ago by my (then new to America) mother-in-law who made these lentils which she called "aatz". She made them quite frequently to feed her family of seven on a very tight budget. Her mother ( photo below) had ten children to feed.

 I call "aatz"  the never ending soup because the longer it sits, the thicker it becomes and we always need to add more broth or water to the leftover soup. When we heat it up the next day it stretches and stretches ! 

I am delighted with many of my mother in laws ethnic recipes because they are naturally gluten free and vegan!

man's photo
My Husband's Grandfather with a Fez on his head in the early 1900's 
Grandmother from Italy raised 10 kids 

Last summer I made a kohlrabi and red lentil soup that was also delicious, but had entirely different ingredients than this Turkish soup. If you get kohlrabi from your CSA this summer- try the kohlrabi and red lentil soup ( pin it) 

Years ago, I could only find these bags of dried red lentils in Middle Eastern or Indian grocery stores. However, today I see them in the most health food stores and supermarkets.. 

What I didn't know was that lentils are full of health protecting antioxidants. 


Why are antioxidants  important? 

"Antioxidants protect the body from damage caused by harmful molecules called free radicals. Many experts believe this damage is a factor in the development of blood vessel disease (atherosclerosis), cancer, and other conditions." - Web MD

Antioxidants are only found in plant based foods - like fruit, vegetables, spices. herbs and beans
Lentils are high in antioxidants. 

Remember, not only are we looking for food that tastes good, we are looking for food that fuels our energy, protect us from disease, and provides substantial fiber for stabilizing blood sugar and easy elimination.

Eat as many different colored fruit ,vegetables and spices as you can. Each color has a unique role is providing protection to our cells. 

Yellow and orange fruits and vegetables contain carotanoids which protect eye health, 

This soup contains lots of 
antioxidants, fiber & vitamins and minerals

red lentils- protein, fiber, antioxidants, high levels of folate, vitamins, minerals

carrots- high in betacarotene and carotenoid ( antioxidant) which the body converts to Vit A

garlic-powerful antioxidant that has antibacterial, antifungal, anti-parasitic and antiviral properties

cumin- high in antioxidants

turmeric - helps with inflammation 

tomato paste - loaded with lycopene ( purchase organic in cans not lined with BPA) which may be protective for the prostate

10 minutes prep/25 minutes to cook

This naturally gluten free soup takes only 10 minutes to prep and twenty five minutes to cook.  It's so fast and easy, you can start it when you get home from work and enjoy a hot nourishing bowl of homemade soup by the time you change your clothes and set the table!


Author: Judee Algazi @glutenfree A-Z Blog
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25-30 minutes


1 and 1/2 cups of uncooked red lentils, picked over and washed well
5 cup boiling water 
3 cups of vegetable broth
1 cup of sliced carrots
4 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup of organic tomato paste or 2 cups tomatoes chopped that have been sauteed in olive oil with 1/4 teaspoon cumin, fresh garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon or more to taste of cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon of cumin + 1/2 teaspoon of cumin
fresh lemon juice


Place uncooked red lentils in a 8 quart sauce or soup pan. Add the boiling water, sliced carrots, garlic, tomato paste turmeric and stir well. Cook on medium heat for about 15 minutes until lentils begin to soften. Add the 3 cups of flavorful heated vegetable broth, cayenne pepper and 1/2 t of cumin , stir well and continue cook for another 10 minutes covered. When lentils and carrots are soft, it's ready to serve. Taste and add additional cumin if desired. We like to squeeze some fresh lemon juice into each bowl before serving.

My Notes: 

1. When the soup is done,  top with a tablespoon or more of Basmati Rice, quinoa, or GF noodles if desired or it can be enjoyed just the way it is.

2.  This soup thickens the longer it sits, add some broth before reheating leftovers.

3. ****If you use fresh tomatoes instead of the tomato paste, sautee your tomatoes, garlic, turmeric, and cumin in a little olive oil or ghee and then add  your red lentils and follow directions. 

Shared on 

Full Plate Thursday    Home Sweet Home  

Souper Sunday at Kahakai Kitchen

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Gluten Free Breakfast and Brunch Recipes

Do you need a good gluten free recipe for Mother's Day breakfast or brunch? Even if you are not gluten free yourself, if you are having guests there is a good chance that someone will be gluten free. I've assembled a variety of gluten free ideas that could be eaten for breakfast or for a brunch.

Eggs are gluten free. 

Eggs right from the carton are gluten free.
You can make almost any kind of omelette using fresh eggs, vegetables, and real cheese.
You could try my recipes for :

Mushroom, Cilantro ( and feta) Omelet- tasty Greek style omelet

NoNa's Zucchini Quiche for Brunch - This is made in a large rectangular pan and serves about 8 easily especially if you have other food for brunch. Easy to make with step by step tutorial- Can be made in advance

Zucchini, Red Pepper Rings, and Spinach Quiche- Another easy quiche, but this one is very colorful and makes a pretty presentation. Can be made in advance

Marvelous Mini Crustless Quiches- perfect to keep in the freezer and pop out anytime you need a snack. These can be made in advance.

Tomato and Egg Shakshookah ; - A Middle Eastern recipe with eggs cooked in salsa ingredients. 

How to cook eggs for a crowd- Some great ideas for cooking fried eggs in muffin tins- how to hard boil eggs in the oven, and how to steam your eggs for easy peeling.

Oatmeal Must be labeled Gluten Free
Here are three very tasty ideas that you can make using Gluten Free Oatmeal. Technically, oats are gluten free but because of cross pollination when they grow near wheat and processing oats in the same facilities as wheat, only oats that say Gluten Free are safe for most people. I get my gluten free oats at Trader Joe's in a large bag that is very reasonably priced.

The following 3 recipes are perfect for breakfast:

 Raisin Oatmeal Cookies - Sweetened with bananas only - makes great breakfast take along for kids. Or add chocolate chips for a more snack like treat.

Blackberry Refrigerator Oatmeal ( Weight Watchers Style)
- Make ahead overnight oatmeal that provides a healthy breakfast and is ready for you whenever you wake up. Smooth, creamy, and healthy. This is really good and can be made in advance and looks so pretty.

Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Pancakes
- Put gluten free oats in the blender to make flour and make these tasty and healthy pancakes.

Muffins, Cookies, Pudding ( no added sugar) 

Blueberry Muffin in a Mug for one

Cherry Berry Mug Muffin- These are made with chia seeds and the cherry's taste amazing

Key Lime Puddingmade in 5 minutes with avocado- creamy and delicious

Friday, May 12, 2017

How to Get More Done

We all want to eat healthy meals, exercise, feel stress free etc. But good self care takes planning, prep , organization and time. It's all about reaching our goals with a timeline and a deadline.

I had a productive morning, and I want to share how and why. 
There are so many things I usually want to do in my day,  but sometimes I just don't get to them. 
Sometimes, it's because I reason myself out of it without even trying. I think I won't have time or I just get off my timeline.

For example, I look around and realize that I want to clean out a closet, cook a healthy dinner, eat a healthy breakfast, prep salads for lunches, exercise,  etc.

I hope to get to it all, but I sometimes get distracted because I check my emails, I get involved in a phone conversation, don't have what I need in the house and have to run to the grocery store, get up too late and then have other commitments. Or I think - I just don't have enough time! 

Yes, there are lots of reasons that I get off track from my goals. Most of the reason stem from poor planning on my part. Actually, today I found out that I can tackle a lot in less than an hour.

I once read that a goal without a plan and a deadline is really a dream! 

Today I had a VERY productive morning. The reason: I had a timeline and a deadline
I had someone coming to clean, so I knew I had to cook early in the AM or I would be messing up the kitchen after the fact.  I planned what I could do before she arrived. 
I was surprised that by 9:00 I had finished everything I wanted to complete including my one hour of exercise. The cleaning service arrived at 9:15. When she leaves, I won't have to mess up the kitchen with cooking. It can be done!!!

6:35 AM 

Upon Waking: glass of freshly squeezed lemon in a tall glass of water ( rinsed my mouth afterward from the lemon- too acidic)

Laid out my clothes for the day

6:45 AM- 7:40 AM
Look What I Accomplished in Just 55 Minutes
  1.  I Threw in a load of wash, and when it finished popped the clothes into the dryer
  2.  Made a pot of power broth enough for two of us for two days 
  3.  Prepared My Make Ahead Mason Jar Salads and filled 4 Mason jars for the next four days of lunches for two
  4.  Spiralized 2 large organic zucchini to stir fry for dinner tonight with some eggplant sauce
  5.  Brewed a 64 ounce pot of my Sunrider Cali  herbal tea and mixed in my Fortune Delight package  too to drink throughout the day

7:40 AM- met a friend to walk for one hour

8:45 -9:00- Showered and dressed

9:00- DONE!!!

My paternal grandmother was a very structured woman. She lived to be 107 years old and was self sufficient until about 98. She then moved in with her daughter and continued to be an active person. 

In her retired years, Bubbie, as we called her, had a daily routine. She got up early, cooked, cleaned, and did wash all before 10:00 AM . Then she showered, put her hair in a bun, always put in her pearl earrings, got dressed, and then relaxed the rest of the day. I think she was on to something.

Do you plan your day? Are you a procrastinator? What works for you? Share some self care tips!!